From the WWE Network: European Rampage ’92

The Macho Man battles Shawn Michaels in a rare encounter between Hall of Famers from two generations!

 

Sponsored by ATARI(!).

Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby the Brain call the action. Already a great sign.

Tatanka vs. Skinner

YEEYEYEYYEYEYEYEYEEYEYEYEYEEYEYEYEYEYEYEYEYE!

The crowd goes bonkers for Tatanka. Skinner gets a jobber entrance. The men trade poses to give the fans an easy “Yeah!/Boo!” spot. Tatanka was one of my absolute favorites at this point. Heenan does some mildly racist humor as he and Monsoon banter. Meanwhile, Skinner sits in a headlock.

These guys trade basic stuff, with Tatanka generally getting the better of things.  Skinner, being an old hand, does a lot of little things to keep things interesting and the crowd invested. He actually busts out a hip swivel at one point, as if he were still a sex symbol. Tanaka gets spit on with chaw, then spends several minutes trapped on the mat as Skinner twists his leg.

Heenan has a good line as Skinner chokes Tatanka with a boot on his throat: “It’s hard to work on your Adam’s apple at the gym.” Skinner tosses Tatanka to the floor as the heat segment starts to drag a bit.

Skinner lands on Tatanka’s boot while trying an aerial attack. This sets up the war dance. To his credit, Tanaka sells the knee/leg injury as he tries to bop across the ring. Skinner is quickly hit with the fallaway slam for the win at 11:53.  Good enough for an opener.

The Legion of Doom vs. Col. Mustafa and Dino Bravo

The WWF apparently dug Dino Bravo up from the abyss to fill a spot for this tour. This appears to be Bravo’s last match ever for the WWF.  He only made a few appearances on TV after Wrestlemania 7 and this is taking place a full year later. He has his old black hair here. The LOD bowl over both heels, with Bravo’s power proving useless. Mustafa can’t find an opening to break their backs, fuck them in the ass and make the humble.

Mustafa actually takes some decent looking bumps for the faces. Animal dumps Bravo into a steel post, allowing Hawk to hit a flying clothesline for the win at 4:29.  Squash.

The Undertaker vs. Sid Justice

We get a rare appearance for Sid after Mania 8, as he would be suspended/rage quit over steroid testing and other issues not too long after this.

Sid attacks at the bell, blindsiding the Taker. Taker no sells the attack and slams Sid. Sid avoids a follow up elbow and begins to hack away at Taker again. Taker no sells and abuses Sid with his rope walk forearm and flying clothesline. Harvey Wippleman distracts the ref to aid Sid in escaping a Tombstone attempt.

Sid pounds away, but Taker is able to shake it off and blasts Sid with a clothesline. The men end up on the floor, where Taker is sent into the post.  This surprisingly leads to an abrupt count-out at 5:15. Sid attacks Taker after the match, but stops to pose, allowing Taker to rise and scoop Sid up for a Tombstone.  Sid crawls away rather quickly. Not bad for a match where Sid was on the way out and had no reason to put any effort into his work.

WWF World champion Randy “Macho Man” Savage vs. “Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels

It is intriguing to see Shawn get a headline spot only four months or so into his heel run. They have a fast paced tit for tat battle at the start, with Savage showing his veteran savvy as he keeps one step ahead of his young challenger.

HBK tosses Savage around for a moment, which Savage reverses by sending him over the ropes. Shawn hangs on and skins the cat back in. Savage greets him with a clothesline that sends HBK back to the floor.

Sherri has seen enough and goes after Elizabeth.  Macho Man scares her away, and orders Liz to the locker room. HBK jumps him in the middle of all this. This finally opens up Savage to be abused by Michaels back in the ring for a sustained amount of time. Savage turns the tide by sweeping out HBK’s legs and slingshotting him into the ring post.

The champ dumps Shawn throat first on the top rope, then knocks him to the floor with a flying knee. This is followed up by a double axe handle to a prone HBK, who is standing on the cement. Savage hits another one in the ring, but a third flying attack goes afoul as Shawn manages to hit a superkick.

Savage is battered in the ring and tossed to the floor. Sherri gets her licks in. Savage begins to rally, but bumps the ref on accident. Savage tries to set HBK up for the big elbow…and delivers.  With the ref out, Sherri breaks up the pin. Savage scares her off. Monsoon flat out says Macho should punch her in the mouth.  Savage actually spits at her.

The ref gets back up. Sherri gets on the ropes and tries to disrupt things. Liz returns to the ringside and flips Sherri into the ring for the easy crowd pop. Savage hits a flying crossbody on HBK but surprisingly does not get the duke off of that. That seemed like a perfect ending sequence.

Sherri climbs back up, so Liz yanks her off again.  The pop isn’t as intense since the ladies basically repeated the same spot as a moment ago. Savage gives HBK a near fall off a cradle, then teases a top rope attack.  Shawn ducks, so Savage lands on his feet and springs back up the ropes. The champ hits another crossbody and this time it’s enough to get the win at 16:21 . HBK attacks Savage afterward, but Sherri hits him with her loaded purse by accident and Savage knocks their heads together to give the crowd a final thrill.

Savage was demoted by the end of 1992 due to his title run not living up to Vince’s expectations. He pitched at that point that he wanted to work with HBK to elevate him to the main event level.  With that in mind, Savage was clearly more than willing to give Michaels some rub here and they put together a very entertaining bout.

The Bushwackers are introduced by Sean Mooney. They commit sex crimes along the way as they lick men, women and children alike. The fans mob them.  Heenan “They are very friendly for idiots, aren’t they?”   Monsoon screams about how the Wackers are stars, and it’s hard to argue given the fans response here. That being said (since I am a bitter old man now) I would absolutely hate their schtick if they came around today. Instead, nostalgia makes me chuckle at their antics.

The Wackers finally start their promo.  Butch implies they fuck sheep. They then bite Mooney in the ass and lick him. That’s the whole promo. Bloody lovely!

Virgil vs. The Mountie

Ahhh…this show was certainly front loaded. The second half line up the announcers plug doesn’t sound promising. Virgil talks about Frank Bruno in his promo, but then quotes Ali.  Rougeau is quite fantastic, so this might not be bad.

Virgil protests the Mountie holding the shock stick. When the Mountie hands it to the ref, Virgil jumps him. What a dick. Lots of bobbing and weaving as Virgil lands a plethora of punches on his opponent. The Mountie stops for a hug from Jimmy Hart for some easy, cheap heat.

Virgil has freaky long arms. Maybe with his reach he should have stuck to boxing. The Mountie is downed on the mat. Virgil yells at him to shine his shoes. He strips off the Mountie’s shirt and tosses it at his feet.  The Mountie cowers in the corner until he pops Virgil in his broken nose. He then takes Virgil’s nose protector and slams him in the snoz with it.

The Mountie stops to dress himself back up. Virgil kind of looks like a geek by just laying there as the Mountie spends a good minute tucking his shirt back in.  It doesn’t matter as Virgil is picked up and slammed nose first in the turnbuckle. Mountie then wastes more time by requesting the mic to remind us that he is the Mountie. Virgil finally makes his move and unloads on his foe.

Virgil hits a side Russian leg sweep (called a neck breaker by Gorilla). Hart trips Virgil. As the ref scolds Hart, the Mountie grabs the shock stick and jolts his opponent. That earns the pin at 8:57. Rougeau’s stooging and commitment to the gimmick made this a fun watch.

Intercontinental champion Bret “the Hitman” Hart vs. Rick “the Model” Martel

Martel’s model gimmick was probably overdue for a remake by this point.  Martel was a 19-year vet already, and probably could have succeeded with another face run in either singles or tag action.  A quick check of his record book shows Martel possibly played face for a UK house show run in 1994.  Also of note from 1994: There was a match with Macho Man teaming with Tenryu against Martel and Adam Bomb in Japan. How beautifully random!

Anyway… Martel gets his cheap heat spots in at the start by cartwheeling away from Hart, and then slapping him. The Model cheap shots Hart during a lock up, but takes too much joy in his success and gets popped in the face while gloating.

Martel locks on a front facelock for a bit. Hart escapes and teases a Sharpshooter, but Martel is too fresh. Hart works over his legs instead. Martel kicks Hart off into the buckle to end that. Hart goes back to the leg to cut Martel’s hopes of a comeback off.

Monsoon suggests Martel won’t submit. Stan Hansen would disagree. Hart tries to use the post to wear away on his challenger’s leg. Martel sells his leg, but then forgets about it as he hops to the floor, scoops Hart up and slams his back into the steel post. Then he sells the leg again.

Hart eventually makes his comeback, rolling off his five favorite moves. The Side-Russian leg sweep, back breaker, second rope elbow…Martel dumps him to the floor to cut that off. Martel is happy with himself.

Hart blocks a suplex attempt back in the ring, but Martel blocks the champ’s cradle attempt. Martel moves in with too little caution and gets caught in a small package for the sudden win at 13:02.  The kids pour out of their seats to rush the rails.  Had Kevin Nash watched that finish he never would have lost his World title to Bret at Survivor Series 1995! This was a perfectly fine match.

Lord Alfred Hayes is in the locker room for an interview. Vince McMahon clearly produced this segment as we hear a toilet flush. “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan walks in an apologizes for being late as he was “working up a sweat”. For this UK-exclusive show Duggan’s promo is about the crowd chanting “USA! USA!” to motivate him.  The foreign menace who he is facing is… the Repo Man. He hails from the evil Axis nation of Detroit according to announcer Mike McGuirk.

“Hacksaw” Jim Duggan vs. The Repo Man

Duggan spends the early minutes “Hooo-ing” and pumping up the crowd. Repo eats a series of clotheslines and takes a breather. This goes as you would expect. Duggan gets the early clubberin’. Repo Man gets the advantage with his own series of fists. Duggan gets riled up and mounts his comeback. Repo Man decides to avoid a pinfall and smacks Duggan with his tow rope hook for the DQ. That all played out over 7:14.

Repo strangles Duggan on the mat with his rope. The ref manages to yank the rope away long enough for Duggan to grab his 2×4. Duggan hides out on the floor until Repo sneaks around to the corner where Hacksaw is laying in wait. He chases Repo off with the stick. Bleh.

“Macho Man” cuts a promo in the back. He puts over HBK as a mighty challenger. Macho tells Liz he loves it here in the U.K. and wants to celebrate a 1,000 Honeymoons here with Liz. That depressed me as these two were divorcing within months of this promo. Savage challenges Ric Flair to more matches, even though he is the champ.

Heenan has an empty coffee pot. He thinks it is the trophy the Bulldog won at the “Royal Albert Hall” show (which I reviewed here.) Monsoon mixes up a wrestler’s name for the fifth or sixth time this evening as he talks about Bret Hart winning the trophy instead of Bulldog. Earlier he mixed up Shawn Michaels and Sean Mooney in several different segments.

“British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith vs. I.R.S.

IRS tries to subtly ask Mike McGuirk where the hard camera is located. She blows his cover by pointing at it. IRS is half of the World tag team champions at this point.

The crowd erupts for the Bulldog, as one would expect. Heenan riffs on Smith’s braided hair. “Why did he go to Whoopi Goldberg’s stylist?” IRS stalls as the crowd chants “Bulldog!” and honks horns. Smith dumps IRS with ease and pushes his hair back. Heenan: “Yeah, fix your hair, you don’t want to look funny!”

IRS stalls some more. Bulldog uses an armbar. IRS tries to kick him to break it, but gets his foot caught. This allows Irwin to bust out an enziguri. I really wasn’t expecting that.

The crowd heat has been odd all night, as they spent most of their time chanting things I often couldn’t make out, as well as beeping their horns instead of cheering. IRS locks on an abdominal stretch and a headlock to ramp up the excitement.

A backside camera angle reveals that the Bulldog’s tights actually has about a fourth of his ass cheek exposed as the fabric was replaced with a shoelace type of criss cross. Bulldog does a contrived looking spot as he splashes IRS, but aims for the legs, allowing IRS to “get his knees” up. Bulldog almost no sells that anyway and just keeps up the offense.

Jimmy Hart distracts the ref so IRS can go for his briefcase. Bulldog knocks the case down, then powerslams IRS for the win at 12:48. A rather blah match as Davey is only as good as who he is working with and IRS is a dull, dull, dull heel.   Ted Dibiase would have been a much better choice for this spot, as at least he could have carried Smith to a potentially better match. Hell, even a Berserker power match probably would have been less of a chore to sit through than IRS busting out his full array of rest holds.

Final thoughts: Heenan was gold all night. Monsoon had his moments. Watch the rare Macho Man/HBK battle and use most of the rest for nights when you want to end your insomnia.

 

 

 

 

Written by Andrew Lutzke

The grumpy old man of culturecrossfire.com, lover of wrasslin' and true crimes.